Parramatta FC clinch final Westfield FFA Cup spot


Parramatta FC grabbed the seventh and final spot in the inaugural Westfield FFA Cup on Tuesday evening at Melita Stadium, a first half goal from striker, Shayne Ardle, all that was needed to knock out fellow SUPA IGA NPL NSW Mens 2 side, Northern Tigers.

Having reached the quarter finals of the 2014 Waratah Cup, both sides suffered successive losses in a unique playoff series to find themselves battling for the remaining FFA Cup position.

The nerves were there to see in the opening quarter of an hour on a chilly evening at South Granville.

Once the mist had settled, Northern Tigers had the first real chance, Guilherme De Souza flicking a ball in to the path of the overlapping Lucas Dawson, who disappointingly sliced his shot wide of the mark from inside the box as Parramatta’s Luke Turnbull closed down the angles.

Parramatta responded within a minute with what was to be the only goal of the game.

Central defender, Robert Tribbia carried the ball forward looking for options, before knocking it long in to space behind the Tigers defensive line. Ardle latched on to the ball and snuck it past the onrushing Tigers goal keeper, Stuart Page, to give Parramatta the lead.

The goal seemed to kick start the Tigers in to gear, and they enjoyed the better of play until the break, wasting numerous opportunities to restore parity.

The first came when De Souza lobbed a superb diagonal pass in to the path of Shervin Adeli in the 24th minute, but the Tigers attacker sliced his volley wide.

Then lively striker Matthew West broke down the right channel of the pitch, hitting a low shot early that was gobbled up by Parramatta keeper Turnbull at the second attempt.

Northern Tigers kept at it and came ever so close on the half hour mark, a rasping 20 yard drive by West cannoning back off the upright after a swift one-two with De Souza, Parramatta keeper, Turnbull, rooted to the spot.

Parramatta weathered the storm and almost doubled their lead right before the break. David Rezo’s free kick from out on the left was met by Ardle with a sweet volley that just cleared the Tigers’ cross bar.

It was more of the same after half time, with Parramatta’s approach seemingly to soak up anything the Tigers had to throw at them and try to hit them on the counter.

Daniel Gullo and Matthew Clowes were working well together in the Parramatta engine room, complementing each other as they covered every blade of grass with a high work rate.

Max Glanville made an eagerly awaited entry for the Tigers on 56 minutes, sparking his side in the attacking third with some urgency, one such foray ending with a shot by De Souza from 20 yards that whizzed past the Parramatta goal posts.

It was David Cain’s turn to spurn another opportunity for Northern Tigers, his angled shot on the hour mark rising over the bar after a Glanville cross had eluded everyone to reach him at the far stick.

Gullo was at it again in the defensive third a few minutes later, throwing his body in the way as Glanville lined up ready to pull the trigger, the Parramatta defence scrambling to keep their goal intact.

A half cleared corner in the 70th minute reached the Tigers Adeli in the 70th minute on the edge of the box. Adeli controlled the ball with his chest before guiding a volley over the mass of Parramatta players descending on him, only for keeper, Luke Turnbull, to expertly tip the effort over the cross bar.

The speed of Ardle and Wandi Jajaw on the counter attack were causing some grief for the Northern Tigers defence, and if only for some composure on the ball Parramatta could have put the game to bed a lot earlier.

Once such Parramatta break on 76 minutes saw Rezo enter the penalty area before cutting the ball back for Ardle, who somehow stabbed his shot wide from a few yards out.

Some frantic play marred the final moments without any threat to the scoreboard, and it was Parramatta who held on for a narrow victory.

On opportunities alone, the Northern Tigers can feel a little hard done by. West was a lively and dangerous threat in attack all night, De Souza showed great creativity when on the ball, a creativity that dwindled somewhat with his substitution in the 62nd minute, whilst Adeli showed glimpses of his capability as the Tigers tried valiantly to drag the match into extra time.

Parramatta showed calm and composure on the night to take their spot in the coveted FFA Cup. Ardle’s pace in attack was a constant menace for the Tigers, Matthew Clowes stood his ground in the midfield, whilst Gullo worked tirelessly all night, providing options for his defence and supporting his attack in an accomplished midfield display. 

Parramatta coach, Franco Cosentino, has lead a remarkable resurgence for the club, guiding them to the quarter finals of the Waratah Cup, qualification for the inaugural Westfield FFA Cup, as well as the top rung of the SUPA IGA NPL NSW Mens 2 competition ladder, with no doubt still plenty to offer in the remainder of the 2014 season.

Match Stats

Northern Tigers 0

Parramatta FC  1 (Ardle 19’)

Tuesday, June 17-Melita Stadium, Sefton

Referee: Mr Adam Susz

Assistant Referees: Mr Craig Fisher and Mr Murray Wilson

Northern Tigers : 1. S.Page (c), 5.S.Ryder, 14.R.Batley, 15.O.Skelding, 17.A.Tayebi, 16.S.Baveas, 23.D.Cain, 10.G.De Souza (19.B.Cheng 62’), 3.L.Dawson (8.M.Glanville 56’), 7.S.Adeli (18.D.Stuart 81’), 11.M.West.

Substitutes Not Used: 9.L.McConaghy, 40.B.Needham.

Yellow Cards: Nil

Red Cards: Nil

Parramatta FC : 1.L.Turnbull, 4.R.Tribbia, 5.P.Gatt (c), 6.D.Gullo, 8.M.Clowes, 9.W.Jajaw, 10.D.Rezo (16.J.Symons 67’), 11.S.Ameti, 12.J.Casey (3.L.Darkoh 67’), 17.D.Trimboli, 23.S.Ardle (15.B.Brooker 86’)

Substitutes Not Used: 13.D.Kardasis, 20.J.Biega.

Yellow Cards: Nil

Red Cards: Nil